Purchase an Atari XF551 5.25″ Floppy Disk Drive (10-15 mins)

Task: Purchase an Atari XF551 5.25″ Floppy Disk Drive

Needed: Web browser 

Time: 10-15 minutes

Introduction

Like the Indus GT, the Atari XF551 is a much sought after 5.25″ floppy drive for the 8-bit computers. Attractive features include double-density data storage and the ability to read and write to both sides of the disk. True double-density and double-sided data gave the XF551 three times the storage capacity of the Atari 1050. Further, it was faster than previous Atari drives and there are some ROM upgrades that makes it even faster and compatible with 720K disks. Unfortunately, it was released over a short window of time in the late 1980s and thus not nearly as many were sold.

As you can see in the photo of my XF551 below, the color scheme matched the XE line of computers, including the 65XE and 130XE, that were more common when it was released.

Atari XF511 5.25 Inch Floppy Disk Drive
Atari XF511 5.25 Inch Floppy Disk Drive

Instructions

There were several XF551s listed on eBay at the time of this post. They tend to sell in the $200+ range given their rareness.

Comments

I am very happy to still have this drive from my time using Atari computers in the 1980s. Would love to find another one and maybe try the ROM upgrade.

Note that you need a version of DOS that is compatible with the double-sided read-write feature of this drive. Atari released DOS XE in 1988 for the XF551. SpartaDOS also supports the XF551.

Atari XF551 Floppy Drive with Atari 65XE Computer
Atari XF551 Floppy Drive with Atari 65XE Computer